By Jens-Peter Bonde
12 December 2008
The EU Summit in Brussels finished on time. The Irish government formally betrayed its people by accepting to have a new referendum on exactly the same text which was rejected 12 June by 53,4 % of the Irish voters.
They also accepted a decision to bring the Lisbon treaty into force from 1 January 2010 even if it has been rejected. Thereby they have already concluded that a second referendum will be a “yes”.
The Irish voters can chose between “Yes” and “Yes please” - the Lisbon Treaty will be put in force no matter their preference.
The government has obtained only one real concession. There must be a commissioner from each Member State. But it will be up to the majority of EU leaders to decide who shall be representing each Member State.
There will be nothing changed in the Treaty concerning this matter.
There is also talk of so-called ‘legal guarantees’ for sensitive issues from the Irish debate. But legal guarantees have to be ratified to become truly “legal” by the other Member States. There is however no further discussion on a re-vote on the Lisbon Treaty by other countries.
Then they have aired a possibility for making such guarantees legally binding in the next treaty. Well, this is only possible if they insert these promises in the existing treaties.
The reality is that the Irish government simply plans to make declarations against some possible interpretations of the Treaty. They could state, for example, that nothing in the Lisbon Treaty will include provisions for conscription to an European army.
I heard this argument only one time during my many meetings in Ireland. It was the foreign minister who brought it on television as a “No” argument! I never heard it from “No” persons.
Such declarations will in fact change nothing. The Irish voters will therefore be asked to vote on the same treaty twice while voters in other countries are not allowed to vote for it once.
This is very bad for the feeling of belonging to a democracy. The EUDemocrats will urge the governments to bring the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum in all Member States instead of asking the Irish to vote twice on the same issue. And, why not, have it all together with the European Parliament Elections between 4-7 June next year.
Or even better: let us establish a short and readable treaty which can be read by prime ministers before they sign it. The Lisbon Treaty has not been read by any of the Prime Ministers when they signed it and we don’t think it likely that they have looked upon it since.